The Origin of the Snowshoe
Snowshoes were first introduced to the Cat Fancy by a breeder in
Philadelphia in the late 1960's. Three kittens of Siamese parentage
that were born with white feet formed the foundation of the breed.
American Bi-coloured Shorthairs were used to develop the breed
In 1986 a Snowshoe breeding project was started in the UK Snowshoes are
registered with the Cat Association of Britain and are recognised for
competition at medallist level.
Coldenufforsnow Xanthe, my first
A Siamese litter in 1960 at the Kensing Siamese Cattery in Philadelphia
PA, owned by Dorothy Hinds Daugherty, produced three kittens with four
pure white mittens. Even though the variant did not re-occur, it struck
the fancy of Dorothy to the point where she developed the first
Traditional Snowshoe line by crossing her Siamese with a bi-color
American Shorthair. The result was a sturdy, pointed cat
markings on the face, chest and feet. Eventually the continued
breeding produced the trademark "V" shaped marking on the face in
addition to the mitted trait.
Another breeder, Vikki Olander, of Norfolk, Virginia, wrote a standard
for the new cat and pressed for its recognition, which was achieved in
1974. It was Olander who gave this breed a push with the other cat
associations, but being the only breeder at that time, she was unable
to receive much recognition. Three years of struggle brought more
breeders on board until the breed received Championship status in
nearly all of the other cat associations. The American Cat
(ACA) was the first to recognize the Snowshoe as a breed. Still
considered a rare breed, the Snowshoe is now recognized by the American
Association of Cat Enthusiasts (AACE), the American Cat Fanciers
Association (ACFA), the Cat Fanciers Federation (CFF) and The
International Cat Association (TICA). Snowshoes may be outcrossed to
American Shorthairs, Oriental Shorthairs and Siamese without penalty.
In reality, 90% of all Traditional Snowshoes come from unregistered
Traditional Siamese and Classic Siamese and unregistered mitted,
pointed cats. The only American Shorthair used belonged to a breeder
named Maia Sornson. This male American Shorthair was a registered first
generation American Shorthair out of a black and white Classic Siamese
cross. In addition the breed has a smattering of Extreme Wedge Siamese
and Oriental Shorthair, but it is a small amount and a long way back.
Breeders quickly learned that using Extreme Wedge Siamese, true
American Shorthairs, or Tonkinese just ruined the type they were
Currently in the UK under GCCF registration policy, Snowshoes can
outcrossed with Siamese, bi-colour British short hair and bi-colour
Ragdoll. Some breeders are using these outcrosses to widen the
pool, so first, second and third generation snowshoes will be
available. Snowshoes can’t be shown under GCCF until they are
A medium to large cat, the Snowshoe combines the heftiness of the
American Shorthair, with the length of the Oriental. It is well
balanced with sound conformation and strong muscle The unusual
combination of pointing, the white pattern, and the moderate body build
sets the Snowshoe apart from all other breeds
It has a sparkling personality and is human orientated and
affectionate, making it attractive to the new pet owner or breeder and
ideally suited to the cat-show scene.
Patterns and Colours
The Snowshoe pattern is complex, with the white markings superimposed
on the Siamese pointing. The preferred pattern being white to the
ankles in front, white to the hocks at the back and an inverted 'V on
All recognised point colours allowed.
Coat of medium short hair of medium texture, glossy and lying close to
Eyes of bright sparkling blue with good contrast against points colour
and walnut shape
This is Austin, a seal point stud boy.
What They’re Like to Live With:
The Snowshoe has the outgoing personality of both the American
Shorthair and the Siamese. It may or may not be talkative. When it does
vocalize, it tends to have a softer, more melodic voice than the
Siamese. The Snowshoe has a sparkling and affectionate personality and
likes being with people, although some can be a bit shy with strangers.
It generally gets along well with other cats if it’s properly raised
and socialized. The Snowshoe is intelligent and trainable.
Ownership of a Snowshoe provides a pay back of love and affection.
Touching and being touched is the order of their day. They have a
mystic touch of aloofness but are not standoffish. As their forebears
do, they love humans. In reality they don’t realize they are cats. They
consider themselves people, and insist upon sleeping with their owners.
Very inquisitive and intelligent, they can be taught a number of tricks.
Some members of the breed have become known for their fascination with
water, and climb into the tub for a swim. Hours can be spent trying to
flush the toilet so they can watch the water swirl around.
While not as loud or vocal as their Siamese ancestors, they are never
at a loss for expressing themselves with a soft, melodic voice. If you
are looking for a striking, bi-colored beauty with personality to
spare, then the Traditional Snowshoe is the shoe that fits.
The Look of the Snowshoe
The Snowshoe is distinguished by its pointed coat, white markings on
the feet and a white inverted V on the face that begins at the forehead
and spreads down across the muzzle. The short coat comes in typical
Siamese colors—seal, chocolate, lilac, blue, red, cream, cinnamon and
fawn—and in two patterns, mitted and bicolor. Kittens are born white,
and point color develops as they mature. Bright blue eyes peer out from
a head shaped like a modified wedge and topped with medium-size ears
that have slightly rounded tips. This is a medium-size cat with an
intermediate body type that’s firm and muscular, not sleek or
dainty. The Snowshoe generally weighs 10 to 12 pounds.
The average Snowshoe lives between 10 to 14 years of age. They have few
genetic defects and most of those are minor, such as kinked tails,
crossed eyes and an umbilical hernia now and then.